It might sound like a sad comment on our society but a new set of scams and cons have already started surrounding the upcoming implementation of the health care exchanges aka insurance marketplaces.
Most of these scams play on the confusion and uncertainty that remains surrounding the details of PPACA and the timing of its implementation.
A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that 42% of those surveyed did not know that the law still stood, many believing that the law had been repealed or was not going into effect as planned. So confusion and misinformation is rampant leaving many vulnerable to scams and fraud.
Most of the schemes have targeted people who are currently uninsured. Although the penalty for employers with more than 50 employees has been postponed for a year, the penalty for uninsured individuals is still going to go into effect in January of 2014. Many scammers are using scare tactics to get consumers to pay a fee for their service. Some scammers going door to door in larger metropolitan areas have even told vulnerable individuals that they are subject to prison time if they do not sign up for their service on the spot. These scammers claim to be working for the Federal Government. Some call and tell people that they need to verify their eligibility for coverage and then ask for Medicare ID numbers and social security numbers. These scams have been reported in 20 states so far and more are being reported every day.
Official looking websites have been set up and are being used to scam people. Already, two bogus websites have been reported and taken down. Along with bogus website, emails and phone calls and messages pretending to be working for the Federal Govt. and offering to help consumers have been reported. Obviously the goal of these scammers is to get you personal information.
The main thing to remember is to deal only with people you know and trust when it comes to your health insurance. Professional insurance brokers who have been certified to assist consumers with health insurance decisions are your best option. However, remember that not all brokers are being certified to deal with the exchanges. Make sure the one you deal with has been certified.
When dealing with Navigators, remember navigators should never ask you for money or solicit you to sign up for any insurance plan. Their only job is to advise you how the exchanges are supposed to operate. Their job is not to sell you any insurance product. They are not licensed to do so and if they claim to able to, run the other direction and report them as scammers.
There will continue to be confusion and misinformation as time goes on. Dealing with a trusted professional insurance broker that you know and trust is your best defense against fraud and scams.